Junkyard Find: 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle

junkyard find 1979 jeep cherokee golden eagle

Ah, the Malaise Era. By the late 1970s, AMC was on the ropes. The Jeep Cherokee still sold well, however, and the brains in Kenosha decided they’d go for the Acapulco Gold-smoking generation and throw a few square yards of decals on the truck. Golden Eagle!

I had forgotten all about the Golden Eagle, which was a classy trim level for the Cherokee, but the sight of this example in a Denver self-service wrecking yard made me remember how I thought these things were semi-cool as a kid. Going to junkyards in Colorado really gives you a sense of the history of four-wheel-drive vehicles in America; this junkyard has at least four more Malaise Cherokees in stock.

It’s got tape stripes.

It’s got extremely 1970s decals on the doors.

It’s got an AMC 360 under the hood.

It’s got denim seats, complete with jeans-style buttons. Not quite as cool as the Levis Edition Pacer, but still cool.

Most of all, it has a giant angry eagle decal across the hood. It must have been fun to see this thing out the windshield at all times.

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  • Cfclark Cfclark on Feb 20, 2012

    For every vehicle, no matter how objectively awful or outdated, there's a club that loves it: Someone let the International Full Size Jeep Association (ifsja.org) know about this one, there's an AMC 360 someone might want!

  • And003 And003 on May 14, 2012

    This article reminds me of the 1978 Jeep Cherokee that Chrysler's Mopar Underground team put together for the gathering of Jeep fans at Moab. The modifications the team installed could easily be used on this Jeep Cherokee.

  • Snickel Fritz I just bought a '97 JX 4WD 4AT, and though it's not quite roadworthy yet I am already in awe of it's simplicity and apparent ruggedness. What I am equally in awe of, is the scarcity of not only parts but correct information regarding anything on this platform. I'm going to do my best to get this little donkey back on it's feet, but I wouldn't suggest this as a project vehicle for anyone who doesn't already have several... and a big impressive shop with a full suite of fabrication/machining/welding equipment, and friends with complimentary skillsets, and extra money, and... you get the idea. If you don't, I urge you to read up on the options for replacing anything on these rigs. I didn't read enough before buying, and I have zero of the above suggested prerequisites... so I'm an idiot, don't listen to me. Go buy all of 'em!
  • Bryan Raab Davis I actually did use the P of D trope, but it was only gentle chiding, for I love old British cars of every sort.
  • ScarecrowRepair The 1907 Panic had several causes of increased demand for money:[list][*]The semi-annual shift of money between farms and cities (to buy for planting and selling harvests)[/*][*]Britain and Germany borrowing for their naval arms race[/*][*]San Francisco reconstruction borrowing after the 1906 earthquake and fire[/*][/list]Two things made it worse:[list][*]Idiotic bans on branch banking, which prevented urban, rural, and other state branches from shifting funds to match demands. This same problem made the Great Depression far worse. Canada, which allowed branch banking, had no bank failures; the US had 9000 failures.[/*][*]Idiotic reserve requirements left over from the Civil War which prevented banks from loaning money; they eventually started honoring IOUs illegally and started the recovery.[/*][/list]Been a while since I read up on it, so I may have some of the details wrong. But it was an amazing clusterfart which could have been avoided or at least tamed sooner if states and the feds hadn't been so ham handed.
  • FreedMike Maybe this explains all the “Idiots wrecking exotic cars” YouTube videos.
  • FreedMike Good article! And I salute the author for not using the classic “Lucas - prince of darkness” trope, well earned as it may be. We all know the rap on BL cars, but on the flip side, they’re apparently pretty easy to work on (at least that’s the impression I’ve picked up). On the other hand, check the panel fits on the driver’s and passenger’s doors. Clearly, BL wasn’t much concerned with things like structural integrity when it chopped the roof off a car designed as a coupe.